The Institute for Civic Engagement at SUNY Cortland launched its self-directed Action Team of interns in spring 2018. The goal is to build the Institute’s capacity by giving interns the responsibility and authority to create, initiate, and collaborate on civic engagement projects.
One example of the Team’s effectiveness comes from Rachel Gillman, a SUNY Cortland junior, who took the initiative to begin a new start-up project, Play To Provide. Through her program, Gillman wanted to raise money for the after-school program of the YMCA of Cortland County, located about two minutes off campus.
Some of Gillman’s Action Team members partnered with her to “table” at popular dining facilities on campus to raise money by selling $3 tickets to the Zumba event.
On March 27th, Gillman hosted a Zumba event in which 35 people participated in a Zumba class that was conducted by a certified Zumba instructor at SUNY Cortland, Hannah Hoglan. Hogland donated her time to the cause.
The class was upbeat, with all participants enjoying the fast-pace environment of the class. With the $163 that Gillman raised, the YMCA was able to buy a new set of toys for the program’s children who have learning disabilities. The YMCA also purchased a new shelving unit for all of their toys and supplies, and they repainted the entire classroom.
Gillman plans to collaborate with other clubs to make bigger events, such as a carnival or fair, and she would love for Play to Provide to continue after she graduates.
Across SUNY, students, faculty and administration alike are coming together to in the spirit of charity and togetherness. 30 Days of Giving is our annual tradition, which starts on Thanksgiving every year, where we reflect on efforts of the past year and highlight some of the selfless acts of that members of the SUNY community are leading. Stay tuned for more.
Taryn Rackmyer is a recent graduate of Mohawk Valley Community College, now attending the University at Albany for Public Policy. Taryn is a student assistant for SUNY's Government Relations & Marketing Department.